3/4cups + 2 tablespoonscanola oil(or corn, vegetable or other neutral-tasting oil)
3cupswarm water,plus more for soaking
Prep the corn husks: Add the corn husks to a large bowl or pot. Pour enough hot water over the corn husks to cover them completely. Cover the bowl with aluminum foil and let them soak for 1 hour to soften them up. Meanwhile, rehydrate the raisins and make the sweet tamale dough.
Rehydrate the raisins: In a medium microwave-safe bowl, add raisins and cover completely with water. Microwave on high for 3 minutes, stirring after every minute. Remove from microwave, cover with aluminum foil or a plate and let sit for 15 minutes. Drain and discard the water. Set rehydrated raisins aside.
Mix the masa harina: In a large mixing bowl, add masa harina, granulated sugar, baking powder, ground cinnamon and salt. Mix together to combine.
Add the oil: Add canola oil and mix together with your hands, working the dough through your fingers until everything is well combined and incorporated. The dough should feel a little crumbly, almost like wet sand, and should lightly hold its shape when pressed together.
Add the rehydrated raisins: Add 3 cups warm water and rehydrated raisins. Mix together with a spoon until fully combined.
Finish prepping the corn husks: Drain the water from the corn husks and pat them dry. Lay them flat onto a baking sheet for easy access.
Fill the corn husks: Grab a corn husk and identify which is the smooth side and which is the side with ridges. Place the smooth side face up into your palm or on a plate. Using a large spoon, scoop a big spoonful of the sweet tamale dough into the middle of the softened corn husks and close - no need to spread it out since all the filling is already mixed in!
Fold: Fold together the long edges of the corn husk like a book, and then fold it once more. Fold the pointy edge over so that only one side of the corn husk is open and exposed, and secure the folded edge with thin strip of corn husk by tied a knot around the tamale. If you don't want to go to the trouble of tying a knot around each tamale, you don't have to.
Prepare the steamer pot: Fill the bottom of the steamer pot with water and cover with the steamer insert. Place the sweet tamales in the steamer with the open end facing up, making sure to lean them against the side of the pot so they don't fall down.
Steam: Cover tightly with the lid and place steamer over medium-high heat. Bring the water in the steamer pot to a boil (you should be able to hear it bubbling), then reduce the heat to low. Cook for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, or until the masa is fully cooked. To check and see if it's cooked, carefully remove a tamale and open it up. The masa should easily separate from the corn husks and it should be fairly firm. When ready to eat, remove tamales from steamer, let sit for 3 minutes to cool, then serve.
*The recipe makes about 25-35 tamales and easily fits in a 28-quart steamer pot.The sweet tamale dough can be made up to 3 days in advance. Store it in an airtight container in the fridge until ready to use.To freeze, place cooked and cooled tamales in an airtight container or zip-lock bag and freeze for up to 6 months.To reheat, steam them for 15 minutes in a steamer pot, heat them in the oven for 10 minutes at 350°F or in the microwave for 1-2 minutes on high.